Better safe than sorry
Sources : Times News Network
Date of Publishing:7/8/2010
How can you make sure that the personal data you post on the net isn’t misused?
WHEN you log on to any popular social networking site and chat with friends or strangers, you will always find a message at the bottom of the page: 'Do not reveal information like your password, credit card number etc. to anyone you chat with.' Why is this important? Because sharing certain information can allow cyber pranksters to create fake profiles, hack into your bank accounts or even steal your identity.
With more youngsters logging on to the internet it is important to know about cyber safety. Network engineer Kedar Bhatia says, "The biggest risk comes with phishing scams, online financial transactions and profile scams. Opening unauthorized mails or spam websites, giving out your password online are some of the problems that people face."
Awareness is the key to protecting oneself online. Take for instance, Bangalore student Shourya Saluja, who is creating a curriculum on cyber safety. If implemented, this might be useful to students in class 11 and 12 when using the internet. While this could be a huge step forward, one can take precautions on a daily basis when using the internet. Vishal Kumar, additional director of cyber law school tell us, "It is important to be sure of the information you are receiving. Keep simple things in mind like changing your password regularly. Do not be fooled by pictures that your 'online friends' send you. E-mails from strangers could contain malicious codes (viruses, worms and trojans) that would be harmful to your computer."
Kedar adds that there are a number of countermeasures one can use when logging on. "I make it a point to make financial transactions from a secure network and not at a cyber cafe. I also program my firewall to filter and block certain sites, IPs and cyber portals. My passwords are a mix of numbers and alphabets, making them difficult to hack." Bhatia also suggests that parents should also make their children aware of the consequences of passing on certain information online.
Another step is to make sure you're protected on the websites you frequently visit. College student Tanvi Amladi says, "The good thing is that many websites have a number of settings that allow you to keep your account safe. I keep my privacy settings limited to my friends and family only. I don’t really shop on the internet for fear for giving out my personal details." Tanvi is doing a course on cyber law, where she is learning how the internet and what can be used to tackle such issues.
The internet is a playground for miscreants and cyber criminals. While it may be difficult to ensure complete safety, one can surely enjoy the internet to its fullest potential if one is aware and keeps simple tips in mind. firstname.lastname@example.org
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